Published: July 21st 2009July 21st 2009
...That Haven't graduated
So I woke up this morning, and took a service to work, as per the norm. The routine kind of subconsciously sinks in, making you feel incredibly settled and content. However, one should realize:
Routine can be boring. Nablus, and the CSC for that matter, is far from boring. Thus, routine cannot exist in Nablus.
To elaborate: I get into the center, and I’m met by the director’s daughter Fayrouz, who asks me if I ‘am coming, or not.’
Uh, I’m sorry, what?
Well, I have learned that being completely unaware of what is happening sometimes leads to the best days.
We show up, I get jazzed up in a CSC vest (very utilitarian chic, I might say), and I am left to my own devices while everyone is running around. I see: a bunch of young guys on horseback. A pick-up truck with a mini replica of the Nablus clock tower strapped in the back. A bunch of young people dressed in black robes and graduation caps. And a group of us CSC-ers, all in our vests.
I’m thinking… it’s some kind of parade?
I Do know that the high school seniors have just
Mohammed and Afnan
Coordinating volunteers, while modeling our 'chic' vests
finished a hellish past year, preparing and finishing the dreaded Taojihi exams. These are a series of 12 exams spread over eight months, whose results will determine whether they get into university, and what they will be able to study should they get in. To add to this pressure, the results are announced. Publicly. In every single medium possible.
So I was thinking: graduation caps, robes: this must be a celebration of the results coming out! But I look to my right. My friend Karim, who I know just finished, is standing there in a vest. And surely there are more graduates than that. And the results aren’t out for another two days.
And he tells me that the people in the caps are university students. That haven’t graduated yet.
I am then asked whether ‘I want to walk, or drive.’ They all seem concerned that I want to walk, but I wasn’t passing it up for the world. It takes me halfway through the event to realize what was happening. A contingent of about 15 of young volunteers were marching in file in a parade to represent the center in the Shopping Festival!
Yes. Buckle up,
Mini Clock Tower
A replica of the one in the center of downtown
folks, Nablus is having a grand festival for the next month. And it is dedicated to Shopping.
Actually, it makes a lot of sense after a little explaining. Karim clarified: Nablus has only recently been allowed a little breathing room. The Israelis are loosening up slightly on the checkpoints, allowing more people of the surrounding areas access to the city. The West Bank is in a continual economic slump, never you mind the world economic recession. A ‘Shopping Festival’ is a harmless month of fun, that will bring people to Nablus, and help stimulate the economy.
So I find myself, with no previous indication, marching in a parade, behind the An-Najah University representatives and in front of some kids banging, albeit skillfully, on drumps and bleating through trumpets. This culminated (I know, more?!) in literally, a dude being lifted on a construction machine on to the top of this wall, bearing a torch that had been carried around all the cities in the West Bank, to light a giant torch. Yes, a la Olympics. He was triumphant. It was awesome.
The CSC helped clothe and coordinate the university students and the volunteers, and then we all rushed
There were TONS of people- these were the cutest kids cheering out the window
back to the center and sorted through the mass of vests, scarves, hats, and robes. Let’s be serious- who ever gets to walk in Parade, randomly, for work?
I just saw some clowns randomly skipping down the street. I love the unexpected nature of this place.
There are more photos below